5.081 Gazpacho

Cycle 5 – Item 81

 27 (Thu) March 2014



by CAL

in her apartment

-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with CAL, ME, KK, TL, C + JR, et al.

CAL invited friends from the office over to her place this evening for dinner, which she had prepared.

CAL is Spanish.

I was totally geeked out to be one of the chosen few.  For me, the occasion was the first time eating home-cooked Spanish cuisine, cooked by a Spaniard, at home.

Tortilla is a Spanish dish.  It’s a thick egg omelette with potatoes (tortilla de patatas), often onions (tortilla española), cooked in a deep pan.  Cut into wedges or cubes, served as a tapa, appetizer, or main course.  The term is Spanish, meaning “small (illa) cake (torta).”  A Spanish staple.  Not to be confused with the flat flour/corn tortillas common in Mexican or Central American cuisine.

Gazpacho is a Spanish dish.  It’s a soup consisting of tomatoes and other veggies (e.g., onion, garlic, cucumber, bell pepper), traditionally ground smooth with a mortar and pestle, now typically blended in a food processor, along with various spices and olive oil, served cold.  A classic.

Beyond expectation, the food was amazing.  For starters, she laid out plates of different hams and cheese that she’d bought and brought from Spain – the real deal.  She then made tortillas, gazpacho, and seafood & pork rice – a complete meal.  Hands down, the gazpacho was my favorite dish of the evening: the tomatoes bright and zesty, perfectly balanced, the sea salt sprinkled on top providing bursts of flavor with each bite.  But everything was awesome.  Thanks, CAL!

Tortilla de Patatas (3.5): the heartiest omelette that I’ve ever tasted, the potatoes really pumping up the volume; I should try to make this myself.
Seafood & Pork Rice (3.0): technically, as CAL explained, rice can only be classified as “paella” if it’s cooked in a paella; even where the ingredients are essentially the same, the rice won’t develop the same crust on the bottom; here, the rice was cooked in a pot, so it’s not a paella; in any case, it was excellent, the saffron making it taste like a paella, though, yes, admittedly, the rice wasn’t crispy.

To up the odds of being invited back, I gotta hurry up and invite people over to my place, including and especially CAL – in public health, this what we call a “targeted intervention” – for some home-cooked Korean food.  Dinner party karma.

My contribution – for obvious reasons, pink champagne is welcome on any occasion; I’m now going to keep a bottle on hand for just this kind of thing.

(See also BOOZE)


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